Two weeks after Israel destroyed a Palestinian Islamic Jihad cross-border attack tunnel, the IDF is readying itself for any retaliation by the terror group, upping its alertness along the Gaza border and deploying Iron Dome batteries across the center of the country.
"We are in great pain, not only over their deaths, but because of how Israel is presenting itself as the victor in this demolition", the Al-Hayat report quoted Islamic Jihad leaders as saying.
The Israeli made the announcement on Monday, but did not elaborate on where the so-called Iron Dome batteries had exactly been installed.
Other Iron Dome batteries were also reportedly moved to central Israel from the south of the country, where they normally protect against sporadic short-range rocket attacks. A total of 14 terrorists were killed in the aftermath of the tunnel collapse, including two senior Islamic Jihad field commanders. Responding to the Israeli warning, Islamic Jihad said Sunday that "Israeli threats are the result of fear and concern over the Palestinian response to their crimes".
Daoud Shehab, an Islamic Jihad spokesman, called the comments by Netanyahu and Mordechai "a declaration of war".
The group said it would not back down on its "right" to retaliate against Israel for the tunnel explosion, which led to the deaths of 12 of its members, including two commanders, as well as two members of Hamas's military wing. "The enemy's terror and threats do not frighten us and will not deter our leadership from the path of Jihad-the principle of our defense and resistance", PIJ warned Israel.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Gaza-based Palestinian terror groups not to attack Israel.
They, however, say the tunnels are needed to transfer essential supplies, including food and fuel, into the Palestinian territory, which has been under a crippling Israeli siege for over a decade.
But the Al-Hayat report said that Islamic Jihad was undecided on what to do in the wake of the tunnel demolition.
Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Monday condemned a United Nations envoy for "holding Palestinian groups accountable for every tension with Israel".
In the video, Mordechai said that Israel is "aware of the plot that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is planning against Israel", and warned that "any attack by the Islamic Jihad will be met with a powerful and determined Israeli response, not only against the Jihad, but also against Hamas". "It is playing with fire at the expense of the citizens of Gaza, at the expense of Palestinian reconciliation and at the expense of the entire region". It should be clear that [to] any response by Islamic Jihad, Israel will respond with determination and power, not just against Islamic Jihad but against Hamas as well.
Netanyahu said Sunday Israel "will respond with a heavy hand to anyone who tries to attack us from any front".